What influence did Greek philosophy have on the formation of orthodox Christian doctrine?

Particularly, what Christian doctrines or paradigms of understanding God and reality can be traced to have been influenced by Greek thought?

  • After seeing some answers, I see that this might give birth to another trinity argument on this site. While I welcome evidence that the trinity doctrine's formation was directly influenced by greek thought, I'm also interested in paradigms of greek thought, not just doctrine. For example, I've heard it said that God existing “outside time” is a greek understand of God’s eternity rather that a Hebrew one, and that that a dichotomy between heaven and earth is also Greek, while a Hebrew understanding is different, yet I've to encounter clear evidence that supports these claims. Jan 27 '19 at 23:39
  • Could you clarify is this question specific to the Eastern Orthodox Church?
    – Autodidact
    Jan 28 '19 at 1:56
  • 1
    No, by Orthodox I mean all mainstream Christianity that holds to the creeds, such as the Nicene, Athanasian, Chalcedonian creeds, etc. Jan 28 '19 at 2:02
  • That’s what I figured. I merely wanted to clarify. Thank you
    – Autodidact
    Jan 28 '19 at 2:59
  • 1
    Personally, I'm as sceptical when people claim things about the "Hebrew mind" as I am when they claim that something is adopted from Greek thinking.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 28 '19 at 8:13

There were a lot of things that Greeks taught and believed that resemble what mainstream Christianity has come to embrace. For example

The concept of a soul within us that cannot die first became a ‘Christian’ doctrine at the end of the second century AD. Hell had been taught in Greek philosophy long before the time of Jesus, with Plato (427-347 BC) as the important leader in this thinking. The teaching of an everlasting place of punishment for the wicked is the natural consequence of a belief in an immortal soul. By the year AD 187, it was understood that life, once we have it, is compulsory; there is no end to it, either now or in a world to come. We have no choice as to its continuance, even if we were to commit suicide to end it.

More detail given at Truth According to Scripture

  • Your answer gives one the impression that Christianity was nested in Greek history and culture when in fact it was nested and birth in a Hebrew context with Jewish leaders and Jewish writers, with far greater historisty and influence than the Greeks had on the early Church writings. The NT is mirrored in the OT Scriptures and prior to its compilation all they had was the Hebrew Scriptures as their guide. Unless you know of Apostles making doctrines from the writings of the Greeks who in turn got much of their influence from the Northern Thracians culture/s. You might make a case for the RCC
    – Autodidact
    Jan 28 '19 at 1:03
  • @Autodidact No one is saying the scriptures themselves are tainted with Greek philosophy but in the first few centuries after the NT was completed Greek philosophy heavily influenced the orthodox doctrine formation.
    – Kris
    Jan 28 '19 at 1:10

The early church fathers though maybe influenced were very much sympathetic to many stoic philosphers ideas of morality being an abstract thing not to do with the gods. As a concept of morality being written on the heart, the early church fathers knew the motivation for the ideas of logos was because the roman and greek pantheon of gods did many immoral things so the romans had to get their heads around a deity that did good and was the source of good.

  • Ill edit this tomorrow please hold your downvotes until then
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 30 '19 at 18:03

In 2018 I wrote an article titled "Ousía and hypostasis from the philosophers to the councils" which probably answers most of this question, so I will just link to it. It is also in PDF format in academia.edu.



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